A History of Microsoft’s Windows – Through the Looking Glass

c3265e0c-039e-417d-a23c-89100118d8a7_7Just as Steve Jobs was starting Apple out of his garage, young technology entrepreneur Bill Gates was doing the same thing with his new “Windows” operating system.  The two men’s business paths were often times running parallel to each other, and both employed the help of each other in order to get what became their own multi-billion dollar companies started.  The fundamental difference between the companies being the setup of each other’s computer systems.  Jobs’ Apple Macintosh featured a graphic display, while Gates’ Windows operating system was more code-based – which also made Gates’ machine easier to manufacture, and eventually the more popular operating system for business uses because of its more dynamic nature, and the ability for lay-people to make changes to the OS.  Looking at the popularity of Windows today, the question remains – how exactly did this OS get so popular?

Windows1-10Logos1975–1981 MS-DOS

Looking back to 1975 when the initial boot-up and launch of MS-DOS programming language was born, it is hard to believe that technologyhas come so far the last 30 years. But, these early years marked the beginning of the current technological age and mark the period where Microsoft was just figuring out how to create what would become one of the biggest computer hardware and software companies in the world.

1982–1985 Windows 1.0

This period marked the first time “Windows” was used as operating system.  In an effort to compete with Apple’s graphic interface, but also create a user-friendly interface, Windows featured pop-up dialog boxes that allowed users to easily navigate between files and programs, as well as easily scroll through those virtual folders, and allowed for multiple files and programs to be open simultaneously

1987–1990 Windows 2.0-2.11 – Bigger, Stronger and Faster

December 9, 1987, Microsoft released Windows 2.0 which featured new desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts to speed up efficiency, and also expanded memory. Windows 2.0 was designed for the Intel 286 processor, and subsequent Windows releases continue to improve speed, reliability, and usability of the PC with larger processors.

1990–1994 Windows 3.0-Windows NT, and Improved Graphics

On May 22, 1990 Microsoft released Windows 3.0, shortly followed thereafter by Windows 3.1 in 1992. Those products combinedsold 10 million copies in their first two years, becoming the most widely used Windows operating systemup to that point.Including support for the Intel 386 processor, the new Windows ran faster than ever

1995–1998 Windows 95 – Adaptation to the New Internet

August 24, 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, and sold7 million copies in just five weeks. Microsoft’s most publicized launch ever included commercials that featured the Rolling Stones singing “Start Me Up” overlaid byimages of the Start button for Windows. The press release for the product launch simply began, “It’s here.” 

1998–2000 Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me –Work and Play

Released on June 25, 1998, Windows 98 was the first consumer-centricversion of the Windows OS. PCs were then commonplace at work and home, and Internet cafes with public access via Windows PCs were popping up across the world. With Windows 98, it was possible to more easily access the World Wide Web, and also allowed for better application functionality. 

2001–2005 Windows XP

Microsoft released Windows XP October 25, 2001 featuring a new look and feel that was meant to make it easier to use, and easier to find help when users needed it..  The new setup, with its improved speed and stability, was so successful that Windows XP became one of Microsoft’s best-selling products in following years. 

2006–2008 Windows Vista

Windows Vista was released in 2006 and one of its major features was its new and improved security capabilities and data encryption.  The ability for users to better control their accounts to avoid unintended downloads from the ‘net as well as avoid viruses. Windows Vista Ultimate then came with the ability for a user to encrypt his or her own personal data, for extra security added as well.

2009–2011 Windows 7 with Windows Touch

Windows 7 wasreleased specifically for the portable consumer electronics market of the late 2000s. Laptops started to outsell desktops in terms of popularity. Windows 7 included new work methods, improving functionality and adding fun to the interface.

2012–2013 Windows 8

Windows 8 introduceda new integrated interface that seamlessly combined touch screens (for applicable products) with more common mouse and keyboard navigations. It also enhancedthe traditional Windows desktop setup, including a reimagined home screen, arranged into tiles that would take users directly to their contacts, programs, or files, without having to go through a folder.

2013-2014 Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 combined Microsoft’s knack for innovation with customer feedback gathered through the years.  It came with new personalization featuresand the ability for a user to sync their systems across all of their Windows devices, as well as boot-up Bing Smart Search on PC and internet,a Start button to navigate between the desktop and Start Screen, and more flexible options to view multiple apps simultaneously.

windows10banner-730x2842015 Windows 10

Windows 10 was debuted early in 2015. Early versions werefirst available to users via the Windows Insider Program, which invitedusers to contribute to the development and improvement of Windows 10 through their ownreviews. Windows 10 worked to make all project collaboration seamless and easier to do. Insiders explored and responded to previews, allowing Microsoft to develop solutions in response to direct feedback from users on a daily basis.

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